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University senator finds new parking policy counterintuitive

Syed Usman Zubair gives his take.

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For Senator Syed Usman Zubair, the University of Guelph’s move last week to cut student parking spaces “are not going to solve the root of the problem”, finding it counterintuitive for the administration to cut back spaces as permits are consistently sold out.

In at least November, December, January, February, March and May the Sustainable Transportation and Parking Services department sold out of permits for commuting students, the senator and fourth year bachelor of engineering student told The Post.

Zubair explained that he asked the president what would be done about the shortage of parking permits, who responded by saying he would ask those involved what was being done to resolve the issue.

In a letter seen by The Post that was sent to students on July 2, the transportation department explained their answer was to merge the parking classifications of students living on residence and those that commuted to campus.

Included in the changes was a fine increase, more than triple the costs in at least one case. Parking Services added in the later that they would be spending funds on capital improvements such as updated accessible signage, lighting, landscaping improvements and other items.

“There is no change outlines that would solve the capacity issues, while there is evident signs of money being wasted,” Zubair said about the changes, noting that the department is “not investing in more parking lots which is the obvious solution to capacity issues.”

A petition was started last week by student Jamie Fournier who said that the changes were “not enough” to address the lack of parking her and many other commuters face. The Change.org petition passed 700 signatures as of early Sunday afternoon.

Fournier told The Post on Thursday that she has missed class in the past because she could not find a parking spot.

The Central Student Association, the university’s student union, said in an emailed statement that it is supportive of the petition. President Dena Van de Coevering told The Post “we are currently undertaken actions that respect the gravity of the situation.”

“We will also continue to meet with Parking Services so that we can come to understand why these changes were enacted,” Van de Coevering added, encouraging those interested in learning the specifics of the system redesign to contact the department.

The University of Guelph told The Post that the changes were made in response to “address capacity issues”. There are now 17 lots dedicated to faculty and staff totalling 1,997 spots and seven lots where students can park with a maximum of 2,045 spots.

“The hope is that the new system will make parking more efficient because people will go directly to their designated lots rather than spend time driving around looking for a spot,” said communications official Deirdre Healey.

Healey explained that parking is currently free after 5 p.m. and students are invited to move their vehicles closer to campus in the evening after many of the university’s employees go home.

“This new parking system is a starting point and adjustments may be made in the future,” the university official added.


Edit: Senator requested president find what was being done about the shortages not mandate.

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